Florida Trip

This page was last edited 10/21/02

April 3 - April 14th, 1999

Our first night on the road was spent in the Nashville, TN area at a friend's home.  We parked in his driveway and stayed the night.  Had a nice dinner with Mark Herring & family.  More a good stop for relaxing and visiting than anything.

On the trip down to Orlando we chose to not drive like maniacs to get there.  We stopped in Elko, GA at the Twin Oaks RV & Camping, Inc. site.  It was just off I-75 to the east and convenient for the stop.  It was one of the best cared for parks that we've stopped at.  The owner indicated that he had started the site four (4) years before from scratch.

We then drove on to Florida.  We stayed the next four nights in a Coast to Coast affiliate near Orlando.  What it amounted to was a part trailer park and part campground.  It had a nice big pool, lots of pine trees and we were across the road from what I would say were 'permanent' residences in the park.  We're finding a lot of this kind of thing.  My opinion is that campers should be completely separate from 'permanent' residents.

We will not do this again.  The next time we go to Disneyworld we will be staying in the Fort Wilderness Campground at Disneyworld.  Even though the cost may be more, the convenience is well worth it.  If we had paid the little more to stay at Fort Wilderness we could have ridden the shuttle to Disneyworld and had a much more convenient location for everything else we wanted to see and do.

Disneyworld - a two step process to get into the place.  We were queued up in a ferry holding area so we could ride over to the area we were going.  Then we finally got over to the site and it was money, money, money.  By the way... they don't take Discover.  A major provider of services that doesn't take Discover.  We bought a one day pass instead of a five (5) day pass because of that.  Boy were we happy we did so.  As you will see it wasn't what we had expected.  Ultimately we wrote to Disneyworld and they refunded all five passes that we bought by sending us five more.  That cost them nothing and they've got you hooked for another trip to Disneyworld.  We gave the passes away to a friend that was going a couple of months later.  We weren't going back!

Disneyworld - here's where we lost our joy and happiness.  We were in Disneyworld 30 minutes when my 8 year old granddaughter told us she'd rather be back at the RV park in the swimming pool.  Disneyworld was hot, crowded, and there was a 2 hour wait to ride such things as kiddie rides.  There was nothing for the adults.  The only thing that we got on was the merry-go-round.  Waiting was ridiculous to say the least.  We paid nearly $50 for food for us to eat (that was hamburger level food folks) and then couldn't find a seat to sit down and eat.  Finally hovered over another family that said they were in the process of leaving.  What a joke.

Disneyworld was placed there for two reasons... or so it would appear... one to drag in the kids and two to drag in the parents with their money.  Every 'site' to see seemed to be a store.  Imagine that.  You could buy t-shirts, pencils, balloons, etc. all with Disney characters on them at every turn in the sidewalk.  There was nothing of interest and we did indeed go back to the swimming pool at the RV park.

Next day was much better.  We went to Kennedy Space Center and spent the day.  The presentation was very professional and yes, here we had a great time.  I highly recommend it!  There was a bus ride around the complex to acquaint us with all of the aspects of the space effort.  Historical presentations were fantastic and awe-inspiring to say the least.

Next was a trip to SeaWorld.  We spent quite a day enjoying the sea creatures.  There are rides for the kids and the adults.  Shamu was one heck of a show... along with other killer whales that were in the show.  They told us if we were in the first 17 rows we'd get wet.  I think they outdid themselves because wet was an understatement for folks in the lower tier of seats.

After spending time in the Orlando area we took off for New Port Richey, FL.  We had called ahead to a Coast-to-Coast good neighbor campground.  We were told on the phone that they had no desire to have diesel pusher motorhomes in their camp because 'you know how those Coast to Coast' people are, and we only pay $12.45 and expect everything.  We all want a cheap price and tear up their place.  That prompted me to file a formal complaint with Coast to Coast and we stayed at a really nice small campground right on Florida US 19.  A good friend of mine, Brent Yandell, lived in the next block up from the campground and so the site was in a great spot.  Brent is a software author that I met while running a computer bulletin board system for 8 years.  The family went to the beach at St. Petersburg while I spent time with Brent running around the area.

We left New Port Richey headed for home.  We stayed in a Georgia State Park, Veterans Memorial Park, and were amazed at how nicely kept the park was.  Live alligators were in the park and there were signs up to let you know of the danger.  All my wife could do was laugh when I told her that I had heard some noises in the night but they were the loudest small animals I'd ever heard.  She figured that there were probably alligators in the area making the noise.

We stayed the last night before getting home at a campground in Montgomery, TN.  Small campground that a former farmer had set up.  He'd obviously done all the work in setting up the camp, yet it was a good place to stop for the night.  Had a playground for the kids but not much more.  We were in a mood to relax.